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ART IN FOCUS

Mariko Mori   Ring: One With Nature

Exclusive interview with acclaimed artist Mariko Mori. Mori talks about her latest installation "Ring: One with Nature" that celebrates the unity between every being and nature, and is emblematic of the unity of all nations and ethnicities.

The essence of the Olympic Games is the union of people through sport. With this in mind, Japanese artist Mariko Mori chose Brazil and Rio de Janeiro to spread her message: forming a connection between nature and humanity. This connection is the central focus of her new sculpture Ring: One with Nature.

Mariko Mori (b. 1967) is an internationally acclaimed artist. Her practice explores universal questions at the intersection of life, death, reality and technology.

Mariko Mori was born in Tokyo. Mori's father is an inventor and real estate tycoon, and her mother is an art historian of European Art. While studying at Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo in the late 1980s, Mori worked as a fashion model. In 1989, she moved to London to study at the Chelsea College of Art and Design and studied there until 1992.After graduating, she moved to New York City and she participated in the Independent Study program at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Mariko Mori splits her time between London, New York, and Tokyo.

Mori's early work references traditional Japanese culture and ancient history but is characterized by futuristic themes and characters. Her early photography is heavily influenced by cosplay. Fantastic deities, robots, alien creatures, and spaceships are featured in video and photography with the artist herself dressed up in various self-made costumes as these characters.

Present throughout her career is a fascination with technology and spirituality, with technology as a means of transcending and transforming consciousness and self.

While her tableaus were fantastic and futuristic, the role played by the female characters she portrayed were often traditional, gendered roles such as a waitress in Tea Ceremony, a futuristic version of the female Buddhist deity Kichijoten in Pure Land, or a female Japanese pop star in Birth of a Star.

Mori attributes her fascination with consciousness and death to experiencing sleep paralysis in her early-twenties for several hours which left her unsure if she was alive or dead.

Mori's early works, such as her photograph Play with Me, use her own body as the subject, and she costumes herself as a sexualized, technological alien woman in everyday scenes.
The juxtaposition of Eastern mythology with Western culture is a common theme in Mori's works, often through layering photography and digital imaging, such as in her 1995 installation Birth of a Star. Later works, such as Nirvana show her as a goddess, transcending her early roles via technology and image, and abandoning realistic urban scenes for more alien landscapes.
Play With Me (1994): Standing outside a Tokyo toy store, Mori dressed herself as a sexy cyborg—with light blue hair in long ponytails, metallic blue plastic in a hard-shell articulation of erotic body parts, silver plastic gloves, and a dress. Mori was trying to show that she connects to the robotic toys inside the store, but also to show her available unemotional sexuality.
Subway (1994): Mori stood in a Tokyo subway car dressed as if she just landed from outer space. She was dressed in a silver metallic costume with a headset, microphone, and push-buttons on her forearm. This transformation—along with Play With Me—was to explore different constructed identities.
Empty Dream (1995): Mori manipulates a photo of a real public swimming place as she inserts herself in a blue plastic mermaid costume in several locations within the scene. This image refers to, among other things, the rising of technology and philosophy around the creation of man through biotechnology.

Oneness (2002): Oneness presents the dimensions of spirituality, photography and fashion into a deep look on the originality of the artist's skill hence the usage of technology's brand new trends. The outlook designs of Oneness gathers the capacity nevertheless the hability to use advanced technology knowledge converted to some sort of mystic and UFO's.

In 2010, Mori founded a non-profit organization, the Faou Foundation, (the word "faou" is a neologism created by Mori meaning "eternal light"). Mori is listed as founder and president of the organization. Inspired by Buddhism and ecology, the Faou Foundation's mission is to create six art installations around the world as homages to the natural environment of each locale.

Mori’s solo exhibitions have been exhibited throughout the world, including Royal Academy of Arts, in London (United Kingdom), Japan Society, in New York (USA), Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo (Japan), The Museum of Contemporary Art, in Tokyo (Japan); The Brooklyn Museum of Art, in New York (USA); The Museum of Contemporary Art, in Chicago (USA); The Serpentine Gallery, in London (England); The Dallas Museum of Art, in Dallas (USA). Several renowned museums have presented Mori’s solo exhibitions, as well as acquired Mori’s works in their collections, including Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris (France); The Prada Foundation, in Milan (Italy); The Museum of Contemporary Art, in Chicago (USA); The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in Los Angeles (USA). The PinchukArtCentre, in Kyiv (Ukraine); The ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, in Aarhus (Denmark), The Guggenheim Museum, in New York (USA);The Israel Museum, in Jerusalem (Israel); The Museum of Modern Art, in New York (USA) have Mori’s works in collection.

Mori has received various awards, including the prestigious Menzione d’onore at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997 (for “Nirvana”) and the 8th Annual Award as a promising Artist and Scholar in the Field of Contemporary Japanese Art in 2001 from Japan Cultural Arts Foundation.Mori’s solo exhibitions have been exhibited throughout the world, including Royal Academy of Arts, in London (United Kingdom), Japan Society, in New York (USA), Espace Louis Vuitton Tokyo (Japan), The Museum of Contemporary Art, in Tokyo (Japan); The Brooklyn Museum of Art, in New York (USA); The Museum of Contemporary Art, in Chicago (USA); The Serpentine Gallery, in London (England); The Dallas Museum of Art, in Dallas (USA). Several renowned museums have presented Mori’s solo exhibitions, as well as acquired Mori’s works in their collections, including Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris (France); The Prada Foundation, in Milan (Italy); The Museum of Contemporary Art, in Chicago (USA); The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in Los Angeles (USA). The PinchukArtCentre, in Kyiv (Ukraine); The ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, in Aarhus (Denmark), The Guggenheim Museum, in New York (USA);The Israel Museum, in Jerusalem (Israel); The Museum of Modern Art, in New York (USA) have Mori’s works in collection.

Mori has received various awards, including the prestigious Menzione d’onore at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997 (for “Nirvana”) and the 8th Annual Award as a promising Artist and Scholar in the Field of Contemporary Japanese Art in 2001 from Japan Cultural Arts Foundation.


CREDITS

Mariko Mori | filmed by Out of Sync | NYC June 2015
Interview | Jesper Bundgaard
Camera and edit | Per Henriksen
Producer | Out of Sync
Artworks courtesy | Mariko Mori | FAOU Foundation

© Out of Sync 2016
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